NORWICH — On Friday evening, the Norwich Fire Department responded to an explosion on 23 North Delaware Square caused by a leaking propane tank.
NFD Chief Jan Papelino said the individual involved in the explosion had refilled a propane tank and put it in an approximately eight by ten shed, not realizing the tank was leaking gas. When the individual returned to the shed and lit a cigarette, the gas ignited causing the shed to explode.
"It blew the roof off, it blew the walls off it, blew the door off it," said Papelino. "I mean, it’s a small, enclosed area, and propane is like natural gas, it’s nothing to mess with. He didn’t realize the tank had been venting inside, of course. Whether it was a bad valve or what the issue was, we’re really not sure."
The individual received minor injuries that did not require medical attention, and no other injuries were reported. Aside from the loss of the shed, the only other property damage was a shattered window on the adjacent house.
Papelino said residents with propane tanks at home should make sure valves are tightened and the tanks aren't leaking gas.
"Pay attention that the valve is good and tight after it’s filled, and that it’s not out-gassing, because there is a pressure relief on them. So just make sure it’s not out-gassing at all through the pressure relief," he said. "Propane will settle into a low spot. So it’ll go into a basement or something like that. With that or natural gas, you’ve just got to be careful. Listen, or try to smell for it, because it's got a pretty distinct odor."